Changes to your Medicare Card to Protect Your Identity

The 2016 Federal Budget Includes funding to help protect Americans from identity theft. A new law is on the way which does not permit a Social Security Number to be printed on a Medicare card.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/21/us/new-law-to-strip-social-security-numbers-from-medicare-cards.html?_r=1). Currently, most Medicare cards have a person’s Social Security Number (“SSN”) printed on the front.  We are all told to protect our SSNs, and not to give them out, as they are a key piece of identification information.  Since the SSN is printed right on the card, however, it creates a vulnerability in which a person can be taken advantage of by financial exploitation.  Thieves have been known to open bank accounts and credit cards with stolen SSNs.

The change will not be immediate, and funds in the Federal Budget have been allocated to transition to a new numbering system for Medicare over the next four years. In the interim, SSNs will remain on Medicare cards for millions of people.

Hopefully, this new law will help fight identity theft and the scammers who try to victimize the innocent.  If you do find yourself in a situation where you have been victimized or scammed as a result of the theft of you SSN or other identifying information, LSED may be able to help.  We have attorneys and paralegals who work on Medicare issues, as well as a consumer and elder abuse unit, with attorneys and paralegals who may be able to help resolve these matters.  And, as a civil legal services organization, LSED provides help free of charge.  If you live in one of the eight counties of Western New York, call us 716-853-3087 and we may be able to help!

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